As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Isabel S. Quintero – Poetry

Stories Our Mother Told Us

Exhibit A: Cucuy

in the night
see how he sings the wind
our way
underneath the door?
his hot breath
presses on
the wood,
doorknob turns
as he lets
and settles on our chests.
it is not a closet
it is an abyss,
his house,
and he
sucks us in
if we misbehave.
no, your crying will not save you.

Exhibit B: Chamuco

Satan, Lucifer, Serpent, Tempter, Belial, Beelzebub. A rose by any other name is el Diablo. Jump on the bed; avoid what you’ve summoned up from Hell. Tuck the blankets under your feet, tight and then tighter. Hear the scratching? Maybe next time you won’t talk back.

Exhibit C: Ropavejero

Roooooopa vieeeja que veeeendan!

He’s come for you.
You didn’t clean your room.
You pulled your sister’s hair.

Roooooopa vieeeja que veeeendan!

It’s not just clothes he’s looking for.
He eats up little children,
cooks them in a stew.

Roooooopa vieeeeja que veeeendan!

He’s just around the corner.
Yup, in plop the Sanchez kids,
in goes the Flores gang,

Exhibit D: Fantasma Encadenado

his feet drag sin around clinking and clanging. the house no longer settled. the cry is faint. it’s not the owl. it’s not the wind panting down the hall. it gets louder the more awake you are. so hurry up and go to sleep.

Exhibit E-Z: La Llorona

Her children were bad, just like you. They asked for things she couldn’t give, like fancy boots and pretty dresses. They cried and cried until she couldn’t take it anymore. So, one night, just like this one, she took them for a walk and drowned them in a river. And in the silence of the cold, as their bodies floated up and were pulled down stream, lost forever in the waters, a voice came up behind her and whispered in her ear, a punishment.  And now she wanders every night looking for her children, Mis hijooooos! Mis hijooooos! But since she’ll never find them, she looks for other children, bad ones just like you, to take their place instead.

moanin’ the blues

would hank have taken me in the back of his 52 cadillac and if he did would he have minded that i only give mediocre blow jobs and is any blow job really mediocre i guess that would matter if you were on the receiving end or maybe it’s that i just haven’t found my rhythm. i bet his guitar could make me work for it. what if a diamond fell out of his pocket…that would have sent me running because fool me once and that’s it no matter the amount of blues and honky tonk twang in his fingering. there’s something to be said about marriage but i haven’t found it yet because the words get caught in my teeth like the steak i enjoyed at dinner but now can’t figure out how to pull out so my tongue keeps dancing around molars and canines. but of course i know how to pull out without making my gums bleed. well at least you do. but back to hank. i think i love him but mostly when he’s lonely and rambling because that’s the only time we’re both howlin’ in the backseat fighting over moons, bones, and belt buckles. and that’s the only time we’re alike.

Isabel Quintero- HeadshotIsabel Quintero writes from the Inland Empire region of Southern California where she lives with her wonderful husband. She holds a B.A. in English from Cal State, San Bernardino and is a member of PoetrIE, a poetry group based in Redlands, California. She enjoys listening to people tell stories and drinking cold beer. Her poems have appeared in Xixan@ Poetry Daily, The Acentos, Badlands, and The Pacific Review.

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Issue 3February 14, 2014
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